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One of the most stunning natural wonders in the United States, Antelope Canyon is a favorite among photographers, tourists, and visitors from all over the world. A popular slot canyon on the Navajo Reservation, it is unearthly in its beauty, created over many thousands of years by wind and water which carved the sandstone into the temple we see today.

Tourists make the trek for the natural light show, which is something of a photographers dream. “The views in Lower Antelope Canyon change constantly as the sun moves across the sky, filtering lights softly across the stone walls. These ever-moving sun angles bounce light back and forth across the narrow canyon’s walls, creating a dazzling display of color, light, and shadow.”

Antelope Canyon is a place where you can experience nature in its raw form, though those interested in visiting should note that the area is only open by joining a tour.

Things You Need to Know Before You Go On Antelope Canyon Tours

Where to Stay

Page is the closest city to Antelope Canyon, only 10 miles away. Find hotels & airbnbs and book via this map:

Know What You Want

Antelope Canyon is divided into Lower Antelope and Upper Antelope. When selecting an Antelope Canyon tour package, you should know which one you want to visit, and think about which one is right for you.

Lower Antelope has fewer tourists and is cheaper to visit, though is much longer and canyon spaces make some people feel uncomfortable. Note that you’ll be climbing stairs and ladders too. Upper Antelope is more popular because it has wider walkways, though this means it is more expensive and sees a lot more tourists.

So, if you’re adventurous and want a challenging trip you can choose Lower Antelope. If you prefer comfort you may want to stick to Upper Antelope.

Take Your Camera Along

The light effects in Antelope Canyon offer some stunning photo opportunities, so make sure you’ve traveled with your camera. Landscape photographers will be in their element!

The light beams that penetrate through the gaps in the rocks do only last for a short time, so make sure you have a camera which is easy to whip out. A point and shoot or an easy to reach DSLR are ideal – you’ll miss the shot if you’re trying to change lenses. Also, remember that any heavy camera equipment you take, you have to hike with.

Lighting conditions are best around mid-morning between April and September, but the other months bring smaller crowds and a more intimate experience where you won’t struggle with as many tourists in your shots.

Carry Your Water

As with any day spent in the outdoors, it’s highly recommended that you carry your own water bottle. While the canyon below is cooler than the hot desert air above, you will still need water to stay hydrated throughout the day.

There are no shops around so you will need to bring water with you.

You Can’t Take a Backpack

Keep in mind that you can’t take a backpack into Antelope Canyon, so whatever you take in you’ll have to carry.

Backpacks cause problems because the Lower Antelope has tight spaces and it can be inconvenient for you to move through, and damaging for the environment.

Carry limited items like a water bottle and some headgear that will protect you from the sun and sand.

Antelope Canyon is a place where you can experience nature in its raw form, though those interested in visiting should note that the area is only open by joining a tour.

Eat Before You Head for the Tour

It’s important to eat and use the bathroom before you begin your tour. Likewise with our tip for carrying water – there are no shops once you’re inside the canyon, so you won’t be able to purchase food. Eating healthy will ensure that you stay fit during the entire tour and maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

There aren’t any bathroom facilities either, so go before you leave to avoid an embarrassing situation during the tour! 


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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo Credits: All photos by Moyan Brenn


  1. I have heard of the antelop canyon, but never got a chance to visit it. It looks so amazing and out of the world. It looks like a fairy tale came true. Thanks for the tips especially about the lower and upper anteops. I would surely keep that in mind if I ever get a chance to see this place. Wonderful photos!

    • So glad you enjoyed the post Salini! It really is something straight from the pages of a fairy tale – nature at it’s most spectacular!!

      I hope you have the chance to visit soon :)

  2. Thanks Meg for introducing me to this wonderful phenomenon of nature.I was not really aware of this place. Looks stunning, I would prefer to head to the Lower Antelope as it sounds more adventurous and also has less tourists. Lovely post and very informative.

    • You’re welcome Vyjay! Lower Antelope is definitely the area to prioritize if you’re looking for something more adventurous and with less crowds. Hope you have the chance to plan a visit soon :)

  3. I think I’d prefer lower antelope with less crowds so that no one rushes me while I’m photographing. Gorgeous photos. Looks magical.

    • Absolutely – I prefer less crowds when trying to take my photographs too :) Can’t stand it when you’re elbow to elbow trying to take a shot!

  4. What an incredibly beautiful place. Thanks for the tips – perfect to keep in mind.

    • You’re welcome Jessie! Hope you have the chance to visit soon :)

  5. The photos are simply stunning, I love how the lights comes down through the rocks. I have never been to the USA but I would really like to visit this place if I do. It looks like a miracle of nature.

    • Aren’t they just!! I hope you do have the chance to visit the US soon Joanna :) There are so many astounding natural wonders, this obviously being one of the best ones!!

  6. I go to the Grand Canyon every year but still never get the chance to go to the Antelope Canyon! The pictures look great!
    Thanks for the tip and I will remember that when I visit there (eventually)! @knycx.journeying

    • Definitely check out Antelope Canyon one year – you’re in the same State as the Grand Canyon, so may as well combine them both for an extra epic trip!

  7. This is on my U.S. bucket list, I’ve seen so many amazing photos!

    • Hope you have the chance to make a trip a reality soon!

  8. Those light effects are incredible, I love the contrast of the golden rock and the blue hued light

    • A photographers dream!

  9. Definitely adding this to my bucket list! Thanks for the great info!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Becky! Hope you have the chance to travel soon :)

  10. For years I’ve been ogling gorgeous photos of Antelope Canyon like this and thought: “I’ve gotta get there!” Thanks for this helpful advice.

    • Hope you have the chance to visit soon Lillie!

  11. Such a stunning place, love taking photographs there!

    • Easily one of the best spots in the States if we’re ranking for photographers playgrounds :D!

  12. One of these days I am going to do a road trip of the USA, mainly national parks and I will finally get to adore this popular National Park! Until then I will just have to admire via pictures :(.

    • Give yourself a couple of months to do an epic roadtrip – the US has so much to offer, and all of the various national parks are equally as stunning! Happy travels!! XX

  13. Your write up is so vivid. I was in Grand Canyon last 2014 but I think this Antelope Canyon much awesome. I wish I can go here. Thank you for your blog and the nice pictures.

    • Thankyou :) I hope you have the chance to visit Antelope Canyon soon! Grand Canyon is beautiful too – they are just as spectacular as each other :)

  14. Thanks for sharing this ideas!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post!

  15. How long does it take to hike in the upper canyon?

    • Hi Linda, the tours usually go for an hour and 20 minutes. You have one hour directly in the canyon, but there is 10-15 minute walk to the canyon Entrance (the company you choose will drive you to the entrance), then less than 5 minute walk back to the parking lot.

      There are sometimes options for a more slow-paced photography tour which can last up to two hours if you want more time in the Canyon itself. Hope that helps!

  16. Which is more spectacular ? Upper or Lower Canyon…. especially for photography ? How strenuous is the Lower Canyon ? And what are the approximate fees for the tours ? Also is it possible to pay for and do both tours at once ? What kind of crowds are to be expected in September and October ? What is the best time of day for photography during those months ? When you mention ” headgear” to protect from sun and sand are you just speaking about a cap ? or what ? Also is it 1 hour and 20 minutes PER tour or total for Upper and Lower ?

    • Hi Tina, both canyons are spectacular, but the lower canyon has slightly less crowds, so the overall experience is nicer and you can get photos without people in them from time to time.

      That said the upper canyon is famous for it’s iconic light beams, which you don’t have in the lower canyon (very rarely anyway). Guides often also throw dust up into the lightbeams in the upper canyon for photographs where-as they’re not usually keen to do this in the lower. So if you’re going with the purpose to photograph the lightbeams, you should go to the upper canyon.

      Rough cost for lower canyon will be around $34. Upper canyon tours are more expensive, you might pay around $70 (that’s including the Navajo park fee you have to pay, but if you’re doing both in the same day you just pay the entrance fee once).

      It’s usually an extra $10 if you want to go at prime times when the light beams are at their strongest. You can easily do both on the same day, though I’m not aware of a company who offers both tours at once. You would probably need to book them separately.

      The standard tour in Lower Antelope lasts for one hour and the photography tour lasts for over two hours (so yes, an hour and a half roughly for each canyon). Re the difficulty of the Lower Canyon, the stairs aren’t a big deal if you’re a mobile person. They’re not treacherous, but if you have mobility issues it might become an issue.

      It’s very crowded until September, but crowds usually start thinning out around that time. It’s at it’s peak in June, July and August. Midday tours are usually jammed. You can take great photos at any time of the day, but if you want the beams of light, you need to go in when the sun is at it’s highest, which is late morning – midday, when you’ll experience crazy crowds. So it’s a choice between the beams vs the crowds.

      Avoid weekends if you can which helps lessen the crowds a bit. Yes, by headgear I just mean a cap :)

      I hope that answered everything but let me know if you have further questions, or if there’s anything I missed :)

  17. Visited the lower Canyon. It was beautiful!

    • So glad you enjoyed your trip Penelope! It really is a stunning place :)

  18. I have just visited Antelope and Rattlesnake Canyon, the comment re tripods in this article is incorrect.
    On the standard tour you are not allowed to take a tripod or a selfie stick or even a back pack, the crowds during the peak times are bad, on 26th May 2018 they had 1200 people pass through Antelope Canyon, on this standard tour you will be pushed through, it is very dark so unless you shoot with a high ISO or in RAW you will not get great shots due to light and crowds, this tour is about 1 hour in the canyon and you go one way and can not move away from your guide.
    I took the Photo Tour about $180 USA for the 2 Canyon tours, well worth it, we spent about 2 hours in Antelope Canyon with a personal guide Gib, he was great, you must have a tripod and a SLR Camera, no bags, before you are allowed on the tour, the guide will hold back the crowds for at least 2 minutes for each photo shoot, we had about 30 diff shoots, Gib moved us around the canyon to ensure we got ready for all the light beams and then used sand for the light beams.
    As an amateur photographer and with Gib’s help a got loads of great photos.

    • Glad you enjoyed your time Terry, and thanks for the updated info on the tripods and selfie sticks being banned – I will remove the mention of a tripod from the post :)

      It sounds like the photo tour is definitely the way to go, and really incredible that they actually hold back the crowd for you and offer some mentorship. Glad you got some awesome shots!

      Thanks for sharing your experience :)

  19. FYI you cannot carry backpacks into the canyon

    • Thanks for the updated info Jean :)

  20. An i bring small pouch at upper antelope canyon?

    • Hi Marites, as long as it’s not a backpack you should be fine with a bumbag type deal, but as the rules around what you can take are often changing the best way to get a 100% answer is to shoot the tour company an email or give them a quick call before the day :)

      Have an amazing time in the canyon!

  21. I guess this might be a dumb question, but you mention no bathroom facilities in the canyons. We are contemplating signing up for an 8 hour photo tour with 4 canyons. Are there any opportunities for facilities between canyons? I see many suggestions to bring water and snacks, no one mentions 8 hours without using the bathroom, am I interpreting the situation correctly?

    • Hi Anthony, there’s usually a bathroom at the start of your tour before you leave (basic outhouse type of set up), but whether your specific tour comes back via facilities or keeps going through the canyons is something I would shoot them an email and ask about.

      That said the bathroom at the start is 1 bathroom for men, and 1 for women, with around 150 people vyying to use it, so I would definitely recommend going before hand and trying to avoid having to use it at all if you can :)

      Hope you have an amazing trip!

  22. it states if you are from sea level it could be difficult to do the lower canyon. We are from Florida and are in fair shape but not super healthy for 50 plus years of age. It looks slow-paced how strenuous is this hike?

    • Hi Kathy, I would say it’s moderate. If you don’t hike regularly might find it fairly challenging – there are reasonably steep stairs throughout the walk (best done backwards like a ladder) and then some climbing involved, as well as walking over uneven rock surfaces.

      If you’re fit you shouldn’t have any problems; if you find you have difficulty with stairs I would expect it to be strenuous.

      Hope that helps! It’s beautiful though so well worth it :)

  23. I just have a question about the canyons being claustrophobic. I kind of have some issues and would hate to be stuck in there being anxious. Can you get out easily if the issue arises?

    • Hi Deidre, it can feel quite claustrophobic when it’s crowded, but there are areas you can retreat to which are like small rooms, and very open and airy, so if you’re feeling claustrophobic you can move into these relatively open areas.

      It’s not dark at all and you’ll always be able to see the sky, which I’ve found usually helps ease this anxiety, and if you head to Lower Antelope there are typically less people. Lower just has tight spots, sort of like gong through a very small door, but it always opens up again right after.

      Hope that helps, and that you have an amazing trip :)

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